A Guide to the Johnston Family Papers 1779-1891 Johnston Family, Papers, 1779-1891 24154, 24321

A Guide to the Johnston Family Papers 1779-1891

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 24154, 24321


Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia
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Richmond, Virginia 23219-8000
Phone: (804) 692-3888 (Archives Reference)
Fax: (804) 692-3556 (Archives Reference)
Email: archdesk@lva.virginia.gov(Archives)
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© 2003 By the Library of Virginia.

Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Trenton Hizer

Library of Virginia
Accession number
24154, 24321
Johnston Family Papers, 1779-1891
Physical Characteristics
.45 cubic feet
Johnston Family
Physical Location
Personal Papers Collection, Acc. 24154

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Johnston Family. Papers, 1779-1891. Accession 24154, 24321. Personal papers collection. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Anne Mason Lee, Richmond, Virginia, 17 May 1955.

Biographical Information

The Johnston family was a prominent family in southwestern Virginia and was related to the Preston and Floyd families. John Warfield Johnston (1818-1889) served as a member of the Virginia Senate from 1846 to 1848. He served the Confederacy as receiver for the Southwest District of Virginia during the Civil War. After the war, he was judge of the circuit court from 1866 to 1870. In 1869, he was elected to the United States Senate and served until 1883. Johnston married Nicketti Buchanan Floyd, the daughter of Governor John Floyd (1783-1837) and Letitia Preston Floyd (1779-1852) and sister of Governor John B. Floyd (1806- 1863), all of Virginia. Their daughter Sally Buchanan Floyd (1848-1925) married Henry Carter Lee (1842-1889), the nephew of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870).

Scope and Content Information

Papers, 1779-1891, of the Johnston family of Washington County, Virginia, consisting of business records, clippings, commissions, court records, deeds, invoices, land grants, letters, lists, and receipts. Letters often concern political and historical matters of Virginia and the United States, including the American Revolution and the Civil War. Collection includes the diary, 1831-1834, of John Floyd (1783-1837), written during his term as governor of Virginia, and gives good insight to the state and national politics of the early 1830s; letters, 1885, from Henry C. Lee concerning the choice of Robert E. Lee of a potential successor as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia; data on Truro Parish in Fairfax County, Virginia; data on Fairfax Parish in Alexandria, Virginia; list of governors up to 1885; and clippings concerning the restoration of Arlington to Mary Custis Lee. Correspondents include: Edward Bates, John C. Calhoun, William Campbell, Lewis Cass, Henry Clay, John Esten Cooke, Jefferson Davis, Lyman C. Draper, John Floyd, John B. Floyd, Letitia Floyd, Edward Fontaine, John S. Gallaher, Wade Hampton, Robert Y. Hayne, Andrew Jackson, George Ben Johnston, John W. Johnston, William King, George Washington Custis Lee, Henry Lee, Henry C. Lee, Mary Custis Lee, Letitia Lewis, James Longstreet, Matthew Fontaine Maury, James McDowell, Thomas T. Munford, Francis Preston, William C. Preston, Beverley Randolph, John Randolph, Douglas Robinson, Theodore Roosevelt, Winfield Scott, John Tyler, George Washington, William C. Wickham, and James Wood. There are three letters from George Washington which are copies. All three original letters are at the Library of Virginia. The final page to the Washington letter dated 31 October 1786 is located at the New York Public Library. There is a typed transcript of Floyd's diary, and it is included in part in Life and Diary of John Floyd, by Charles H. Ambler, 1918, and The John P. Branch Historical Papers of Randolph-Macon College, volume V, June 1918.



Papers are arranged chronologically in each series.


Papers are divided into two series based on accession numbers 24154 and 24321.

Contents List

Series 1: Accession 24194, Johnston Family Papers, 1779-1891
  • a
    Letter, 31 December n.y., John Randolph, Jr., Washington D.C. to William Fitzhugh.
    1 p., ALS.
  • b
    Letter, 10 July 1779, George Washington, Headquarters, New Windsor, to Major Henry Lee, Lt D[ragoons].
    1 p., LS.
  • c
    Letter, 31 October 1786, George Washington, Mount Vernon, to Henry Lee, (Last page containing signature was given away in 1835. This page is now in the New York Public Library).
    4 p., AL.
  • d
    Land grant, 3 May 1787, Lieutenant Governor Beverley Randolph to Samuel Young, assignee of Charles Pryor, 6000 acres in Washington County, Virginia.
    1 p., DS.
  • e
    Letter, 22 September 1788, George Washington, Mount Vernon, to Henry Lee.
    5 p., ALS.
  • f
    Land grant, 13 July 1797, Governor James Wood to Alexander Wolcott, 50,000 acres in Lee County, Virginia.
    1 p., DS.
  • g
    Letter, 10 March 1804, Andrew Jackson Jonesborough [Tennessee] to Col. Francis Preston, Washington County, Virginia.
    2 p., ALS.
  • h
    Letter, 25 November 1804, John Floyd, Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] to Col. Francis Preston, Abingdon, Virginia.
    2 p., ALS.
  • i
    Letter, 20 December 1808, John Gamble and Robert Gamble, Richmond, to Messrs. William King and Co., Abingdon.
    1 p., ALS.
  • j
    Letter, 8 July 1809, G. King and Carrick, New Orleans [Louisiana], to William King, Abingdon, Virginia.
    1 p., ALS.
  • k
    Letter, 28 June 1812, John Floyd, Louisville, Kentucky, to son John Floyd, Christiansburg, Montgomery County, Virginia.
    3 p.
  • l
    Letter, 21? May 1830, John Tyler, Washington, to John Floyd, Governor [of Virginia].
    3 p., ALS.
  • m
    Letter, 10 May 1831,J[ohn] C. Calhoun
    5 p., ALS.
  • n
    Letter, 4 March 1833,Rob. Y. Hayne, Charleston, South Carolina, to Col. W[illiam] C. Preston.
    1 p., ALS.
  • o
    Letter, 6 January 1836, Winfield Scott, Fredericktown, Missouri, to W[illiam] C. Preston, U.S. Senate, [Washington, D.C.]
    4 p., mutilated ALS.
  • p
    Letter, 17 December 1837, John S. Gallaher, Whig Office, Richmond, to William C. Preston, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
    4 p., ALS.
  • q
    Letter, 14 February 1841, Edward Bates, New Trial, St. Charles County, Missouri, to William C. Preston.
    4 p., ALS.
  • r
    Letter, 20 March 1844,H[enry] Clay, Milledgeville, Georgia, to William C. Preston, Columbia, South Carolina.
    Physical Location: located in oversize, box 7
    1 p., ALS.
  • s
    Letter, 10 September 1844, Lyman C. Draper, Smith County, Tennessee, to Mrs. Letitia Floyd, Tazewell County, Virginia.
    3 p., ALS.
  • t
    Land grant, 30 August 1845, James McDowell to Thomas W. Graham.
    1 p., DS.
  • u
    Letter, 9 November 1859, Lewis Cass to J[ohn] B. Floyd.
    2 p., ALS.
  • v
    Letter, 22 February 1872,M[atthew] F. Maury, Office of Physical Survey, V.M.I., Lexington, to J[ohn] W. Johnston, U.S. Senate, Washington [D.C.], Included is copy of letter from Alexander Buchan to Commodore M. F. Maury
    5 p., LS.
  • w
    Letter, 29 February 1872,M[atthew] F. Maury, V.M.I. [Lexington], to John W. Johnston, U.S. Senate, Washington [D.C.]
    2 p., ALS.
  • x
    Letter, 19 March 1872,M[atthew] F. Maury, V.M.I., Lexington, to J[ohn] W. Johnston, U.S. Senate, Washington [D.C.] Enclosure, copy of joint resolution of Virginia General Assembly re: Matthew F. Maury's plan for crop reports and meteorological observations, agreed to 12 March 1872.
    1 p., LS.
  • y
    Letter, 20 March 1872,M[atthew F. Maury, V.M.I., Lexington, to J[ohn] W. Johnston, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C., Enclosure, copy of resolution of North Carolina General Assembly re: Matthew F. Maury's meteorological observations, adopted 13 December 1871.
    5 p., LS.
  • z
    Letter, 10 May 1872, Jefferson Davis, Memphis, Tennessee, to Wade Hampton, Baltimore [Maryland].
    1 p., ALS.
  • aa
    Letter, 1 November 1883, Lyman C. Draper, Madison, Wisconsin, to Mrs. Letitia P. Lewis.
    2 p., ALS.
  • ab
    Letter, 2 May 1889, Theodore Roosevelt, Sagamore Hill, New York to Dr. George Ben Johnson [sic], Richmond, Virginia.
    2 p., ALS.
  • ac
    Letter, 2 May 1889, Douglas Robinson, Jr., New York, New York, to Dr. [George] [Ben] Johnston.
    2 p., ALS.
  • ad
    Letter, 5 February 1891, Lyman C. Draper, Madison, Wisconsin, to Mrs. J. W. Johnston.
    2 p., ALS.
Series 2: Accession 24321, Johnston Family Papers, 1782-1885
  • a
    Diary of John Floyd, 8 March 1831-24 February 1834. Also a transcript copy.
    1 v., 222 p.
  • b
    Deed, 16 November 1791, Thomas Carr and Ann his wife, of Albemarle County, to Daniel Young, of Russell County. Deed recorded 27 March 1792 in Russell County.
    2 p., transcript
  • ba
    Letter, 6 June 1793, Sarah Crawford, Greenwood Park, to sister Mrs. Ann Washington, Rippon Lodge.
    3 p.
  • bb
    Deed, 29 October 1796, David Craig and Martha his wife, of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, to Henry St. John Dixon, of Washington County, Virginia, recorded 2 May 1797 in District Court, Washington County.
    4 p.
  • bc
    Invoice, 1 July 1799, goods bought of William Ring, Abingdon, Washington County, Virginia.
    1 p.
  • bd
    Letter, 20 June 1801, James King, Nashville, [Tennessee], to brother William King, Abingdon, [Washington County, Virginia.]. Included also is a note from Charles S. Carson to William King.
    3 p.
  • be
    Letter, 24 August 1801, Hugh Stewart, Evansham, [Wythe County], to William King, Abingdon, [Washington County].
    3 p.
  • bf
    Letter, [1805?] John Lynn to William King, Abingdon, [Washington County].
    3 p.
  • bg
    Letter, 5 July 1806 W? Campbell, Jonesville, [Lee County], to William King, Abingdon, [Washington County].
    1 p.
  • bh
    Deed, 22 September 1806, William Campbell, of Washington County, to John S. Macfarlance, of Lee County. Recorded September Court 1806 in Lee County.
    3 p.
  • bi
    Letter, 21 October 1806 Samuel Martin, Kingston, to William King, Abingdon, [Washington County].
    1 p.
  • bj
    Deed, 10 August 1806, William Blackwell and Mary is wife, to Henry St. John Dixon, all of Washington County. Recorded 21 October 1806.
    Physical Location: Located in oversize, box 7
    2 p.
  • bk
    Deed, 23 February 1807, Matthew Willoughby, to Henry St. John Dixon, both of Washington County. Recorded 17 March 1807 in Washington County.
    2 p.
  • bl
    Bond, 19 January 1809, John Cocke and Warren M. Seay to Robert Smith.
    1 p.
  • bm
    Check, 6 January 1819, Drawn on the Branch Bank of the State of Tennessee at Nashville. paid to A. Foster by Alex. Richardson and Co.
    1 p.
  • bn
    Writ of commission, 20 December 1820, to take depositions in suit of Lewis Smith vs. William [Hinnegar?]. Issued by J. E. Brown, Clerk, Superior Court of Chancery, Wythe County.
    1 p.
  • bo
    Receipt, 19 February 1822, issued to Alexander Wolcott by P. P. Mayo, Auditor's Office, noting Treasurer's receipt for redemption of land returned delinquent by the sheriff of Lee County.
    1 p.
  • bp
    Court order, 16 April 1829, that Alexander Smith pay Enos Hilton for attendance as a witness for him against Geo[rge] Hickam and wife, Superior Court, Scott County.
    1 p.
  • bq
    Receipt, 1840, issued to William Thompson, Sr., by William B. Young, upon payment of taxes in Tazewell County.
    1 p.
  • br
    Letter, 15 May [1860],M[ary] C[ustis] Lee (Mrs. Robert E. Lee), Arlington, to [Henry Lee], [University of Virginia].
    4 p.
  • bs
    Letter, 30 October 1861, Edward Fontaine, Belvidere, Miss., to John W. Johnston.
    2 p.
  • bt
    Letter, 26 February 1864,W[illiams] C[arter] Wickham, Brig. Gen. C.S.A., to J[ohn] E[sten] Cooke, Capt., C.S.A. Account of operations of Fitzhugh Lee's brigade in Loudoun County and Fauquier County, 28 October 1862-3 November 1862.
    4 p.
  • bu
    Letter, 13 August 1870,C[ary] Breckinridge, near Fincastle, [Botetourt County], to Capt. Henry C. Lee.
    3 p.
  • bv
    Letter, 20 August 1870,J[ohn] Esten Cooke, Clarke County, to Major Henry C. Lee, Stafford County. Details on "Stuart Horse Artillery."
    15 p.
  • bw
    Letter, 15 October 1870, Thomas T. Munford, Glen Alpine, to Capt. Henry C. Lee.
    3 p.
  • bx
    Letter, 6 February 1871, Thomas T. Munford, Glen Alpine, to Capt. Henry C. Lee.
    4 p.
  • by
    Letter, 7 February 1872, G[eorge] W[ashington] C[ustis] Lee, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, to John W[arfield] Johnston, Virginia member of U.S. Senate.
    1 p.
  • bz
    Letter, 4 March 1885, Henry C. Lee, City of Richmond, Va., to General James Longstreet, Gainesville, Ga. Query regarding Lee's choice of a successor to command the Army of Northern Virginia.
    3 p.
  • c
    Letter, 8 March 1885, James Longstreet, Gainesville, Ga., to Capt. Henry C. Lee, City of Richmond, Va. Reply to above question at to whom Lee wished to succeed him in command should a mishap occur. Longstreet notes that he was not aware of Lee's choice, but "It is my opinion that he advised in favor of General Joseph E. Johns[t]on."
    2 p.
  • ca
    Letter, 11 March 1885, Henry C. Lee, City of Richmond, Va. to Jefferson Davis, Beauvoir, Miss. Query regarding Lee's successor.
    2 p.
  • cb
    Letter, 8 May 1885, reply to above letter. Davis writes "If Genl. Lee had any particular person in his mind, he was too decorous to have named him before he was asked to do so."
    2 p.
  • cc
    Letter, 1801[?], part of letter with salutation and closing missing. This middle portion is not dated, but the water mark appears to be 1801. Included are comments relevant to Federalism and related topics.
    4 p.
  • cd
    Data on Fairfax Parish, Alexandria City
    4 p.
  • ce
    Data on Truro Parish, Fairfax County
    2 p.
  • cf
    List of governors and other chief executive officers of Virginia through 1885
    4 p.
  • cg
    Newspaper clippings, 1875, re: restoration of Arlington Estate to Mrs. Robert E. Lee

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

  • G[eorge] W[ashington] C[ustis] Lee
  • Mrs. J. W. Johnston
  • C[ary] Breckinridge
  • Geo[rge] Hickam
  • George Ben Johnson
  • H[enry] Clay
  • J[ohn] B. Floyd
  • J[ohn] C. Calhoun
  • J[ohn] E[sten] Cooke
  • J[ohn] Esten Cooke
  • J[ohn] W. Johnston
  • John W[arfield] Johnston
  • Joseph E. Johns[t]on
  • M. F. Maury
  • M[ary] C[ustis] Lee
  • M[atthew F. Maury
  • M[atthew] F. Maury
  • M[atthew] F. Maury,
  • Rob. Y. Hayne
  • W[illiam] C. Preston
  • W[illiams] C[arter] Wickham